There is a thing about pain that no one wants to talk about.
It is that it is insistent, insidious, and inconsiderate.
It shows up at the most inopportune times and completely alters your life. It causes shifts and seismic shifts in one's outlook. It is a bully.
When I think about this season when all three monotheistic faiths are in the middle of the most holy observances - Ramadan, Passover, and The Resurrection(Easter) - I think about the experiences that many have felt and contemplate through their acts of remembrance, meditation, and gathering.
I have had a busy few weeks and the time almost crashed into me - and I had to stop and think about some things.
The first is the medical gaslighting I've been going through since May trying to get a diagnosis for the mind numbing stabbing heatwave electrifying shocks my body experiences daily. Stemming from a 36 year old car accident and sciatic nerve, damage to the L4 and L5, that resulted in crippling glass shattering moments of pain along my right limbs, especially the legs. They don't listen to late fifty-something Black women.
The second is the news I've missed in the last week due to writing assignments. Ukraine, gas prices, police murders, Brooklyn mass murderer who happened to be Black, killing people in worship services, and a megalomaniac taking over another social media platform.
All of it is infuriating.
So I gave pause, after Good Friday Service, to ponder what we don't talk about because it makes us uncomfortable.
Whether we are talking about someone's health or an injury. Or if one is talking about the loss of loved ones and after 3.5 million American souls died from Covid, it is an emotional pain that has gripped us all. Or if we are talking about the disappointment of losing out on housing bids or the tears shed when the college acceptances did not come as expected, it is still pain.
There are things that hurt us and we can't talk about them all in a society that only values the strong or the appearance of the strong, kinda like that nutcase politician making campaign ads with chainsaws and big trucks. To be away from pain, even if it is tearing up one's soul, they put on a costume to pretend, big guns, big knives, big trucks, big, big, big.
Because stronger is supposed to be better.
But what if there was a lesson in pain we are missing by avoiding seeing it or talking about it? What if we are not asking the right questions?
When I went to see the Physiatrist, he asked me, "what is your pain level today?" They always ask that because it is a gage. They never ask "do you have any pain?" It is always asked with an expected range because they understand the human body carries within it some levels of discomfort, unease, and burden.
It is meant as a register.
It tells us that things are working as they should. Those neurons from the brain connected to the affected part of the body, transmitting information back and forth. They sound a loud alarm when a part is so deeply malfunctioning that it can destroy organs and tissues around it if it is not attended to.
What if the past few years have been like these off-the-charts 10-10-10 pain receptors? Calling us in the pay attention, to sit quiet for a moment and be tuned in to every part, not just the pretty ones that are seen, but the unseen, the unnoticed.
If we sat with it for a minute and listened to what it was communicating, to isolate where it is from. As my Physiatrist taught me, a symptom in one part, is just that, a symptom or an outcome but not the cause, it is not the primary source of what is causing the pain.
Like what we have been experiencing in this country and around the world.
Humanity in pain.
At Good Friday Service, the pastor, in telling a familiar story, reading a familiar passage of scriptures in the Bible, reminded us that what happened on that afternoon was so devastating that even nature cried out.
The pain of humanity is affecting even the very air we breathe.
And what if it is all just those neurons calling us to pay attention.
But like the hot shots of throbbing pain that can radiate through a body, if we don't stop what we are doing and attend to it, it will get worse.
It is more than what a quick solution.
It is more than a fix-it-pill.
It is not going to be easy.
Much like a physical recovery after trauma, our collective humanity must take the time needed to restore, rebuild, and renew what was damaged.
And it will not be the same.
It will be different.
And we must adjust ourselves to that.
It may require assistance, like I do sometimes, of a cane or medicinals to address what can't be cured, but it can be rejuvenated, with patience and consistency.
It only takes acknowledging that it exists and that it is trying to get our attention and it wants to be made whole.